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Hundreds of students will learn what it takes to work in agriculture

A UF/IFAS Extension worker teaches Marion County 4th grade students the ins and outs of irrigation. UF/IFAS

see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — More than 600 fourth-grade students are ready to learn about science, technology, engineering and math through the eyes of Marion County’s farming community this week during the University of Florida Marion County Extension’s second annual STEM program.

“Agriculture is more than a farmer in overalls,” said Norma Samuel, an Extension agent heading up the program, which runs Thursday and Friday.  “They will be able to see what kinds of careers are available in agriculture.”

Students will visit nine stations at the Marion County Extension office on Jacksonville Road in Ocala.  More than a dozen master gardeners will work along with other Extension faculty and industry representatives to help students understand what goes into producing the food they eat. The students will learn about:

  • Garden design;
  • What nutrients are in soil;
  • Irrigating crops;
  • The role weather plays in growing plants;
  • Plant selection for the right season and soil;
  • Composting;
  • Bee basics;
  • Good and bad bugs;
  • And careers in agriculture.

The program was possible thanks to a $2,500 grant. Samuel said they are hoping to get about 300 students from three Marion County schools each day. The students will take a test before their field trip and another test afterwards to see how much they learn.

“The students and teachers really enjoy the event because of the fun, educational activities,” Samuel said.

By Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, 352-294-3302, k.moore.wilmoth@ufl.edu

Sources: Norma Samuel, 352-671-8400, nsamuel@ufl.edu

Photo: A UF/IFAS Extension worker teaches Marion County 4th grade students the ins and outs of irrigation. UF/IFAS